This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
A Review of Part 1
In Part 1, King Fergus gives his daughter Cathail to Cadeyrn to be his wife as a reward for his victory at war. The couple then embarks on a honeymoon of sorts only to return to their village three days later to find . . .
Here's where we left off.
The king stepped from the crowd and walked toward me, his daughter Cathail on his right arm. "As promised, my wonderful Cadeyrn, here is the reward of your effort. I give you my daughter to wife." The king placed the hand of Cathail in mine.
I first looked the king in his eyes. Then I bowed. "My, lord, may I have leave of you so that I may enjoy your generous gift. We shall retire to the forest and make a home in the deep wood."
"Yes," he answered. But you must return in three days. There are more villages to take and more rewards to claim. You may go with my blessing."
We dreamed of the days ahead. We dreamed of little ones dancing around the evening fire. We dreamed of befriending the fairies and the wee folk of the forest. We enjoyed making plans of the time to come. We imagined ourselves settling into later years together. I would not always be the king's warrior but would return to the simple life of shepherd of the open field. We would raise our own food, plant our own crops, 'fend for ourselves against the bears and other wild beasts of the field.
A stream running through the trees traced its way through the woods. This would be the perfect place for us to dwell. All the cool water we could drink. All the fresh fish we could eat. Sheltered by the trees, we would be protected from the storms that so often crept in unaware. In time, we would clear a parcel of land for the sheep.
But dreams are shaken too easily. it was time to return to do the king's bidding.
We would not know what we were returning to until we returned. A feeling of grief and guilt covered me. If I had been here, this would not have happened.
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 1
Caderyn's world has been turned upside down in a single night. Only time will tell if it has changed for the better or for the worst.
In the distance, we could see the castle, but something did not seem right. There was a heaviness in the air. A strange silence. No one in sight. That was until we topped the crest of the hill leading to the village. There were no living souls in sight but many corpses of those who valiantly fought for their lives and the protection of their families.
The village had been ransacked, the women and children gone. I knew immediately who was responsible for this terrible deed. It was the work of Cynbel. He was known for his ruthlessness as he took village after village. But this was not village after village. This was our village. I would not tolerate the evil done to my people.
I took care to make sure Cathail was safe within the castle walls before calling my men together. Once the castle was secure and armed with guards, I called for the men. I was no longer the hero. I was to be blamed for the loss of cattle and sheep, houses, and what little wealth the village had. I was to be blamed for the loss of wives, sons, and daughters. And besides all that, King Fergus lay dead in the upper chamber of the castle. He must be given a fitting burial.
After a time, I was able to calm the men and urged them to fight for their families. I sent spies to Cynbel's village to seek out his weakness. Two days later the men returned. I was informed Cynbel had no weaknesses. His men were much stronger than we. Their weapons were by far superior, and we were outnumbered my many hundreds of men. By all appearances, they were an unconquerable foe.
The fighting spirit of the men was depleted. I urged them to return to belief in themselves. I stressed to them the fact that there was a cause, a cause greater than one alone, but united we could and we would defeat Cynbel and retrieve our families.
One of the men shouted, "But we have no king." Another slowly and quietly, yet building, began to chant, "We have King Cadeyrn. We have King Cadeyrn . . ." Another joined in. Then another. And still more and more. That was the day I was anointed as village king.
I was certain Cynbel expected us to attack although I do not know why. We were just another small group of people like so many others that had given in to Cynbel. We were no different. I had to keep reminding myself our families were gone. Our farms were gone. All that we had was gone. Is there not a cause? I affirmed the answer many times, not just for me but for the men. Battle was necessary.
By the light of the moon, we made our battle plans. Yes, Cynbel's troops were big, strong, and fast. We could not increase in size or number. It was advised that we muster up more strength, more speed to counter the size and number of our enemy. We will charge the village at daybreak. Perhaps all would be sleeping.
This we knew. Cynbel ruled with a mighty hand. He, and he alone, was in control. If we could but get to him first and eliminate his leadership, we would surely walk away the victors. We must charge quickly and powerfully. We would fight our way to the castle and rid ourselves of Cynbel. The sun would soon be shining upon the land. It was time.
We rode hard. No footmen in this battle. It was too dangerous and we could not afford to lose the lives of any of our men. We charged the village with all of our might, but we were met with tremendous force. I realized if we continued to press forward, we would be crushed. Quickly, I sounded the alarm to retreat as we returned home in shame. There had to be another way, another answer to Cynbel. He would not go free for his malice against us. We would free our families and bring each back alive and unharmed.
I knew what we must do to take the small, walled village. Again, we met by the light of the moon to plan our attack. I spoke softly to the men. "Brave warriors, we must never retreat as we did last eve. This is what we will do."
To attack the very next night if at all, would have been foolishness in Cynbel's eyes. So we shall play the fool. At daybreak, we would once again attack. I set the men in bands of three. I would lead the first charge. Those brave men following me would go for the village gate. I knew Cynbel would send his men to fight against us. As we would come close to the gate, he would release his men against us. We would then turn and flee just as we did before.
We would draw the warriors away from their posts. I placed the other two bands in ambush. One to the left of the gate, the other to the right. As Cynbel's men would chase us from the moor, the town would be left unguarded. The ambushments would enter, free our women and children, and burn what was left. The castle would be guarded until the last possible minute to assure the demise of Cynbel. This we knew, he never led his troops to war, but rested in the luxury of the castle. The blood of thousands dripped from his hands.
The plan worked perfectly. As my men followed me to the village gate, Cynbel sent out his warriors. They chased hard after us. The other two bands entered the unarmed town and took back our families. They quickly set fire to the castle and to the rest of the village.
Cynbel's fighters were surprised and confused. After the burning, the ambushment charged back toward Cynbel's army. I turned my men around and charged hard at them. We were in front and behind and in no time, the enemy was surrounded. The last thing Cynbel's men saw was the smoke of the burning village. What we saw was the blood flow from the enemy's veins.
I, Cadeyrn have rid the country of Cynbel who terrorized the villages and treated them savagely. I was cheered and adored among my equals. I was now recognized as a great warrior. Even the Druid priests were in awe of me, The Great Cadeyrn. I could do no wrong in their sight.
We returned to the village with our families, every one of them. And I, to my Cathail. But somehow things were changing. How or why I knew not.
- Cadeyrn's Tale - Part 3
King Aedan was quickly eliminated, thanks to Cadeyrn's cunning, but was it really that simple?
© 2019 William Kovacic